1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Can see no option except for tribunal claim. Terrified.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by squashua, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    Grateful for all advice. People on here have no ulterior motives, unlike many in real life. Solicitor totally in charge of all legal stuff though, and seems good. I just don't know how to survive actually being in school. It is NOT helping me, but it is the only option at the same time.
  2. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    STMHA, did you win your tribunal?
  3. stmha

    stmha Established commenter

    I was offered a settlement on the 2nd day of the hearing which I couldnt refuse.

    My concern about solicitors is the cost of the advice mounts to the point where it becomes prohibitive and can overtake the potential value of the award.

    If you have a good solicitor that lays out everything in front of you then thats excellent, or if you have insurance cover. Get as much advice as possible and then meaure this against the effect it may have upon your health, state of mind. Fighting back can be cathartic but it can also have a negative effect. There are no guarentees with tribunals so losing is also a possibility...it can be like chess, each waiting for the next move.

    Your situation is terrible but you do have options which is a good position to be in. Let your head make the decision and not your heart.

    Good luck
  4. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Have you told your solicitor what has been happening? Mine wrote a letter after my head was aggressive towards me. It all added to the evidence for the tribunal.
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. stmha

    stmha Established commenter

    Torey is correct. Every communication, conversation, email becomes evidence. What may seem like an irrelevant email may contain a gem. E.g

    "...you are required to attend a meeting...." As opposed to "....you are invited to attend a meeting..." Could be seen as a PCP (indirect discrimination) in a disability discrimination case.

    Whoever is representing you must be kept in the loop at all times
  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Sorry - it must seem as if I am hounding you to moan at everything you post, which is really not the case. My sole concern - as clearly is yours - is to ensure that teachers in difficulties can receive appropriate support and information on this fourm.

    However, I have no idea how you have got to an example of indirect discrimination from what you have posted above.
  7. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    I've told my solicitor all of it. I had to be alone in the meeting as it was a type of meeting that could only occur informally under a certain policy. It wasn't supposed to be about the tribunal-related stuff, though it was related to it; we shouldn't have even been discussing it. But he started to talk about it, so it happened. I also have to be very wary about refusing to meet with him without a union rep, as it is essential to my role that we can speak, as I am part of his SLT (well - when it's convenient), so I don't want to back myself into being sackable on the basis that I won't speak to him alone. Hope that makes sense.
  8. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    To be honest, what he said in that meeting was nothing that my solicitor and I didn't already know, and nothing in terms of damaging his case and supporting mine in comparison to things that he's already put in writing...
  9. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    Hello, I'm back. I wanted to update all the very kind people who offered me support and advice last summer.
    The tribunal claim went through and we got an ET3 back which had the main defence being 'well, she wasn't even disabled'. 120 pages of medical evidence then meant they conceded that side of things. The rest of their defence is, according to my solicitor, weak. Had a preliminary hearing about a specific issue a couple of months ago, which I won on the main issues, and the barrister was amazing and said my case is really strong. The hearing is for 7 days in the autumn.

    BUT, in the meantime the Head and the Governors continued to treat me like the evil one, and the discrimination continued, including failed PM, purely because of my absence, despite having met my targets. Regional union rep came to appeal with me and Governors basically said we're not going to allow your appeal because you're taking the school to a tribunal. Rep pointed out that it was victimisation. HR ended it pretty quickly after that...

    I raised another grievance as a result of the pay issue. This time, I wrote to the LA. They investigated - very thoroughly - and also included the historic issues that were ignored in my grievance last summer. They upheld my grievance fully or partly in 75% of my complaints. Recommendations have been made for the school, head and Governors. Also, there's talk of opening formal settlement negotiations.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  10. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    The problem now is that my health and situation is so rubbish that I don't know what the point of any of it is anymore. I have managed to stay in work, at the cost of everything else. I don't function when I'm home; I just sleep or cry. I occasionally manage to make it out with friends, but tiredness + alcohol = impulsivity at the end of an evening that is not compatible with other things. My relationship with the Head was only ever going to be negative, and I could cope with that, but the effect of whatever he said to fellow members of our 'team' means that most of them are wary of me and two are actively hostile. So even being at work feels hostile and unpleasant, despite the many many more colleagues - and friends - who are supportive. So, long-term, I can't stay there, but I don't want to work anywhere else and wouldn't have the confidence to. I can't afford not to work.
  11. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    There are two separate thought processes: the first one that I had, last summer, was to keep going with the therapy and meds, pursue the grievance and/ or tribunal and fight for my job, my health and to get my life back to normal. That seemed fairly possible. It even seemed possible as recently as January, as the therapy had been helpful, I have a great GP and the LA seemed supportive.

    The second is what my current thinking is closest to: accept that life is never actually going to get better, that my role as a mother is to make sure that my child is financially secure, which they won't be if I get sacked (trust me when I say that I am utterly pointless as a mother at the moment in every other sense, because I have no energy left after work and his dad now does everything. I'm only OK at weekends and in the holidays).

    I don't know what to do, really, and I know that only I can decide. I guess, if I tried to go back to the optimistic approach, I could say that the Head is already under scrutiny and the LA's recommendations will force him to start behaving. But that's only true until we're forced to academise. And that won't change the way that some of the rest of SLT are treating me. And it won't change my feelings about myself or the mess I've made of my life, or reverse the miscarriage, so I don't even know what I'm fighting for now.

    Thank you if you've read this far. I suppose any ideas about whether it's possible to stay at the school and if relationships could possibly ever recover, or chances of the Head being moved on, would be welcomed; I understand that nobody can untangle the bigger problems.
    xandrahuk likes this.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    May the HT go away? You can't base your future on that.
    Can relationships recover? How hard can you work at it? Nt got that much energy, I'm guessing.

    Here's what I'd do. I'm not you but I'm not going to tell you what YOU should do. Only what I think might work for me.

    I'd want to leave the place. I'd want to take control. I'd want to lead a meaningful life. I'd want to get over it and make some good memories for my kid. His dad is doing brilliantly so that's an enormous plus.

    I'd want to have what I felt I was owed (not a pound of flesh but a fairish deal) and I'd want to get the hell out of there. The money? No good to you in the graveyard.

    You need to take control. You're so dependent on other people to fix this. It must be absolutely appalling for you. So I'd say get it over, get a deal and get out. It was a bad time. It has to be relegated to the past.

    Otherwise it's sit and wait and hope. I couldn't do that. You've come this far so you must be pretty determined. You can start again. You can. What does your partner think?
    pepper5, bevdex, sabrinakat and 3 others like this.
  13. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    Thanks for your reply. He thinks I should stay. He say we haven't fought the Head this long to give up now. He knows I'd have no chance of having the confidence to apply anywhere else; what's kept me going this long has been the support of my many supportive friends and colleagues. His point is that I was there long before the Head and why should I be the one to go?

    If I left, I would not just be able to go back to work somewhere else. It would take time that I could not afford.
    As you say, money would be no use to me when dead, but it would be to my son, and he'd get to keep his house.

    You're right that I'm dependent on others to fix this and it feels rubbish. My GP has been amazing but even she's now like 'only you can decide'. But I feel very stuck.
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, you can't do that to your son. No.

    You need the Samaritans at this point.

    116 123

    pepper5 and Compassman like this.
  15. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    Thank you but I don't really see what they can do. I'm under a Psychiatrist, the Crisis Team and my GP and even they're not sure what to do with me, or the way I constantly feel. They do know how I feel. So I'm not sure what the Samaritans can do.

    Everyone medical agrees that resolving the work situation is the way to get me well. They are all supportive of the Tribunal route, if I can do it.
    xandrahuk likes this.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You're going to pursue the Tribunal option. I thought you had decided on that. It won't be easy but you will do it. Your partner thinks you should and he is doing his best with your child so you must go ahead and do it.

    1. It restores some equity to the situation
    2. It may punish any bad behaviour on the part of the school
    3. It helps the school look to its laurels in the future
    4. It's the right thing to do

    Unpleasant, confrontational and divisive. But necessary. So that's your focus. One day at a time.

    Would you say you're an indecisive person generally? Then let your partner advise you. Or the person you trust most. Then go with it 100%. No looking back.

    Seems to me you HAVE decided to do it. You want that decision rubber-stamped. Do it. Everyone close to you thinks you should. Who are we to argue with that?

    And the Samaritans? For the suicidally-inclined. Unless you really didn't mean that the way it came over.
    pepper5, squashua and Rott Weiler like this.
  17. squashua

    squashua Occasional commenter

    I just don't know how to get out of it.

    Yes, I think the Tribunal is what I want to do. But will that make the situation better or worse in school than settling?

    That's what I'm really asking, I suppose. What is likely to be the best route to keeping my job and getting any normality back: settlement or tribunal? The settlement is not one where they'd be asking me to leave. I've been asked to specify what I want in terms of compensation and assurances/ other non-financial aspects. It could potentially give me things that a tribunal couldn't e.g. an apology. And they aren't asking me to leave.

    But - reality. Are both routes equally doomed?
  18. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    My situation was similar to yours and work became too unsafe for me to be there. As a result they added constructive dismissal to the claim. I found another job whilst going through the process with the most wonderful head ever. They rebuilt my confidence and it meant I could move on. My solicitor thought it best for my health to take the settlement. She was concerned over how I would feel if I lost on a point of law and also having to listen to people who had been close friends turn on me.

    At the end of the day only you can decide. I personally needed to leave and I'm really glad that I did. Take care of yourself X
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You don't need half as much confidence to go elsewhere as you think you do. And your confidence will only grow once you get out of the place that is destroying it.

    When my confidence was smashed to pieces by horrible SLT, (And I didn't have the guts you have shown to fight the way you have...well done to you for sure.) I started by visiting schools who were advertising. Not a hope of me applying, but just a visit made a massive difference to how I felt. I met some really nice heads, who didn't even seem to notice (or were too polite to comment) that I was shaking like a leaf just because I was in a headteacher's office.

    After a while (about 15 visits over several weeks) I plucked up the courage to apply to ones where I thought "I have no hope of being offered a post, but they seem like they would reject me kindly and I don't actually want that post anyway".

    Eventually, despite being terrified, I applied to a school I actually wanted to work in...and got the job. Yes I burst into tears every time the poor headteacher walked into my classroom for the first few weeks (she learned after the first time not to come in while the children were there!) but that gradually got better too. My confidence grew and grew because I was in a new place with a lovely head and SLT. Yours would too.

    Death in service is not as much money as wages for the rest of your working life, and a whole heap of it has to go to the tax man and funeral service. It really isn't the best financial option. So skip that idea...it's a rubbish one, though hugely appealing when life is naff. A payout gives you time to look around and get yourself well. There is no rush.

    Start looking around at other schools, you cannot stay in a place that is making you ill...It's like continuing to hit yourself over the head with a hammer and wondering why your headache remains.
  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I really feel for you in your current situation. And I hope that you can see that there are lots of other friends on here for you.

    As loads of other people have said, only you can make the decision, although there are people who can have an input: your union and your family.

    There are ways of getting out of this.

    First of all, feeling so very down in the dumps shouldn't be allowed to go on. You can do several things about this.

    Things to do today, either of these

    Thing to do tomorrow

    • Go to make an appointment to see your GP to get help with how you are feeling

    Secondly, your future needs to be investigated. Actually doing something positive, taking the first step, will help you feel better as well as enable you to see more clearly about where your future lies.

    Things to do today

    Thing to do tomorrow
    • Contact the National Careers Service Webchat or phone, to get some ideas about other careers you could go for. Teachers have great experience and transferable skills that can help them be a success in other jobs too
    So have a cup of tea, with a biscuit (or two!), and start on that list of things to do.

    Best wishes

    squashua likes this.

Share This Page